With Thanksgiving upon us, I’m going to keep this short and sweet; you need to crimp that pie crust after all! As I write, our house is warm with the scent of cinnamon, ginger, and sugar from the pies in the oven. You read that correctly, our house! We’ve been back to Maine for a couple of weeks now, and have been busy settling into life off the road. We happened to time our arrival with a near statewide power outage, which made things a bit complicated; but we’re no strangers to living without electricity or water. Now we have both, and we have our cozy home and are settling back into domestic life as well as can be expected.
A few have asked where we went after our last post in Grand Tetons; the long and the short of it is we visited Idaho, had an epic week in Wyoming’s Wind River Range. We had planned to head to Colorado afterward, but winter came early there; so we switched gears, did a few days hikes, then slowly meandered back east visiting Kansas City, Omaha, Chicago, and Cleveland along the way to name a few. We have pictures of the Winds and took lots of videos, so I’ve been saving that post until I’ve honed my video-editing skills to do the Winds justice. Until then, here is one of my favorite pictures from those mountains.
Ah, but I said I was going to keep this short, so let’s get to it. One the most popular specials at the cafe was colcannon cakes. Colcannon is an Irish dish of mashed potatoes and hearty greens, and colcannon cakes are made of the leftovers. I read about both for the first time here on the wonderful Simply Recipies blog, and filed it away in my memory under “mashed potatoes” and “must make soon.” “Soon” didn’t come around until a few years later when I started the cafe and had leftover mashed potatoes from our lunch specials and lots of local greens. Whenever we made mashed potatoes, we always made an extra pan for colcannon cakes the next weekend. Crisp on the outside, soft on the inside; there is no better use for leftover mashed potatoes.
Colcannon Cakes (makes 4 servings, of 2 cakes each)
- 3.5C mashed potatoes
- 1C chopped kale, or other hearty green
- 1 egg, beaten
- 1C all-purpose flour
- 1-2 tsp of salt, depending on how seasoned your mashed potatoes already are
Wilt the greens using the method of your choice (microwaving, steaming, or sauteeing). In a large bowl; mix cooked greens, egg, and salt into mashed potatoes. Sprinkle flour over the mixture, and stir in with a wooden spoon. Mix until the flour just disappears. Form into patties. The diameter is up to you, but make sure they are no more than 1 inch thick so that they cook through. You should have eight cakes. Heat a large cast-iron skillet or saute pan over medium-high heat, with enough oil to just coat the bottom of the pan. Once the oil is hot, add four cakes to the pan. Cook a few minutes until pan side is golden brown, then flip and cook the other side until golden. Remove from pan, and repeat with remaining cakes, adding more oil if necessary. Eat as you see fit! They make an excellent breakfast with an egg, with a little sour cream, or by themselves.